South Carolina Family Preservation

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Introduction: Preservation of Family
In South Carolina, Family Preservation is of the highest importance when dealing with cases involving children. Title 63 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina is the South Carolina Children’s Code dedicated to the protection and advocacy of children. S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-10 (1976) states that “Any intervention by the State into family life on behalf of children must be guided by law, by strong philosophical underpinnings, and by sound professional standards for practice.” (S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-10 (1976))
S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-10 (1976) also states that parents are the people who are primarily responsible for children’s welfare in South Carolina, and family units should be given space to deal with their
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In such cases, termination of parental rights is necessary. S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-1640 (1976) of the Children’s Code gives several instances where the reunification of the family unit is not in the best interest. This section is of great importance to the subject of termination of parental rights. It lays the groundwork for finding if preservation of family is in the best interest for everyone involved. Family court may decline to pursue reasonable efforts for reunification if one of the following conditions exist:
1. The parent has subjected any child resident in their home to severe or repeated abuse, severe or repeated neglect, sexual abuse, acts constituted as torture or abandonment.
2. The parent has been convicted or pled guilty or nolo contendere to conspire to commit or committing murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child.
3. The parent has been found guilty of physical abuse which has resulted in admittance to the hospital or death of a
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Whenever the court makes a decision to terminate parental rights and forego efforts to preserve the family based on the above mentioned conditions, it must set forth the reasoning in writing. Alternatively, if one of the conditions are met, and the court chooses not to terminate, but instead preserve the family unit it must make written finding to support that it is in the best interest of the child. S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-1640 (1976)
Examples of these procedures can be found in South Carolina Department of Social Services v. Briggs , 413 S.C. 377, 776 S.E.2d 115 (Ct. App. 2015). On August 2, 2013, I’Tesha C. Briggs three children were removed from her home and placed in emergency protective custody with the South Carolina Department of Social Services over allegations that she had abused them. According to the placement plan, Briggs was ordered to complete a psychological evaluation, counseling, obtain a stable home and income and complete drug and alcohol assessment. DSS was to provide the counseling and evaluation

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